Movies You Didn't Know Were Based On Stephen King Stories

The accumulated word count of Stephen King's career is so astoundingly high it makes my head hurt. Over the course of his career, he's written 56 novels and almost 200 short stories.
King's cinematic, gripping writing lends itself easily to the big screen. So far, over 50 works of TV and film have been based on his writing. If you've been haunted by films like The Shining or Carrie, you can attest to what powerful source material King's stories are.
Released last Friday, It is the latest highly anticipated King adaptation to hit theaters. In the film, a gang of ridiculously brave pre-teens face off against a demonic spirit terrorizing the children of Derry, Maine in the form of a clown.
Yet King has written more than just horror (and weird sex scenes). Let's thank him for these insanely imaginative movies, which probably won't keep you up at night.
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The Dead Zone (1983)

If you touch Johnny Smith's (Christopher Walken) hand, and he'll catch a glimpse of your future. And once Johnny reads your future, he can change your future.

After Johnny touches a politician and sees the dastardly effects his rise will have, he becomes fixated on killing him.
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The Running Man (1983)

Set in the far-off distant future of 2017 (!), Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Ben Richards, a prisoner who has a chance for freedom if he joins the most popular game show on TV. Ring a Hunger Games bell? On the game show, contestants must run for their freedom. Those who lag behind are publicly executed.

The slightly ridiculous '80s action film is worth watching just to see how prior eras envisioned our own.
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Stand By Me (1986)

You know the movie. You certainly know the song that plays over the credits. But did you know that this famous coming-of-age flick is based on a novella by Stephen King called "The Body"?

For a movie that occupies such a treasured spot in our collective cinematic imagination, the premise is pretty grim: A group of friends go on a trip to see a dead body. What starts as a stroll through the Oregon wilderness becomes a life-defining adventure for the four boys.
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The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

It's close to impossible to think of the final scene in The Shawshank Redemption and not smile. This beloved film tells the story of a friendship forged between two prison inmates over the course of 19 years. Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is wrongfully accused of murder and sentenced to a two lifetimes in prison. Soon after arriving, he's befriended by contraband smuggler Red (Morgan Freeman), who knows he wouldn't last in prison without his help.

The riveting, moving film is based on a Stephen King novella called Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.
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Dolores Claiborne (1996)

It turns out Misery isn't the only Stephen King psychological thriller set in New England that Kathy Bates has starred in. In fact, Bates told NPR that Dolores was "my favorite role of all the roles that I've done."

On a small island in Maine some time in the mid-nineties, a caretaker named Dolores Claiborne is accused of murdering her paralyzed employee. Her estranged daughter, Selena (Jennifer Jason Leigh), returns to Maine from New York, where she'd lived for the last ten years, to help with her mother's case. Selena and Dolores find themselves reliving the events of a similar trial many years ago, when Dolores was accused of murdering her husband, an abusive alcoholic.

If Dolores Claiborne is a horror story, it's one of domestic, everyday horrors.
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Thinner (1996)

And now, for the worst of Stephen King adaptions. Looking back, it's almost impossible to imagine how this movie was made. In Thinner, an obese attorney (Robert John Burke) accidentally hits a gypsy woman crossing the street. Her 109-year-old father puts a curse on him that causes him to lose weight at a dangerous rate.

King co-wrote the screenplay, too, so he doesn't get off the hook.
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Apt Pupil (1998)

A film cut in the same mold as Heart of Atlantis, in Apt Pupil, a boy discovers his older neighbor harbors secrets. Only these secrets are grim and disturbing, and the boy isn't adorable. A high-school student (Bryan Renfro) finds out that his neighbor (Ian McKellan) was a Nazi, and blackmails him to share his war stories.
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The Green Mile (1999)

If The Shawshank Redemption is Stephen King's (relatively) feel-good prison movie, then The Green Mile is the Stephen King prison movie which will leave you gutted.

Unexpected phenomena — miracles, even — start occurring in a Louisiana prison after John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), accused of brutally killing two sisters, arrives. Coffey's kind, gentle demeanor isn't what the guards, like Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks), expect from a prisoner guilty of such a heinous crime. After getting to know John, Paul begins to suspect that not only is John not guilty, he's capable of magic.
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Hearts in Atlantis (2001)

In a ridiculously charming town in the American heartland, an 11-year-old named Bobby (Anton Yelchin) befriends Ted (Anthony Hopkins), the wise older man who moves to the apartment upstairs. Ted is able to see the future, and helps awaken Bobby to his own psychic gift.
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Secret Window (2004)

Occasionally, writers indulge in creating characters who are writers. In Secret Window, Stephen King does just that.

Secret Window is the story of Mort (Johnny Depp), a writer who goes insane while working in isolated New York cabin. Mort starts getting visits from a mysterious man (John Tuturro) who's accusing him of plagiarizing his story. The visits become increasingly aggressive – and homicidal.
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The Mist (2007)

After adapting King's The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption to film, writer and director Frank Darabont took on The Mist, a story of a small town in unbelievable circumstances.

Following a freak storm, the entire town of Bridgton, Maine is enveloped in an impenetrable mist. Residents seek refuge in a supermarket while terrifying monsters traipse around in the mist.

Like the best Stephen King works, The Mist depicts what happens when unusual circumstances (like monsters) unleash people's inner monsters.
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The Dark Tower (2017)

Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) is the last of the Gunslingers, a race of knights from the alternative reality Mid-World. He's compelled to reach the Dark Tower, or the locus point of all other universes. As determined as Roland is to preserve the universe's balance, the Man in Black (Matthew McCoughnahey) is bent on stopping him.

The hour-and-a-half movie is the first of many adaptations set to stem from King's eight-part Dark Tower series.
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